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NW shines in Taekwondo Nationals, Lynnwood wins 23 medals

LYNNWOOD, Wash., August 6, 2021 — The Pacific Northwest and Washington state shine at the AAU Taekwondo National Championships that took place July 4th – 10th in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Northwest Black Belt Academy of Lynnwood saw 31 athletes fight and bring home a total of 23 medals. They won eight gold medals, eight silver medals, and seven bronze medals. Of these 23 medalists, 13 qualified to compete in the AAU National Team Trials to represent the United States in an upcoming international event. 

Despite pandemic restrictions, the tournament in Nevada was well-organized, according to Master Joe of Lynnwood Academy.

“The tournament ran smoothly at the MGM Grand Las Vegas convention center. We had a great experience at this event. Overall, we took first place in the country with 8 national champions and 13 of our athletes qualifying for team trials, which if they win, they will represent the USA at an international event,” said Master Joe of Lynnwood Northwest Black Belt, part of the Washington United Taekwondo.

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Washington United Taekwondo (WUT) is an organization created by a group of coaches in Washington to collaborate and train athletes together. The WUT team brought a total of 64 athletes to the AAU National Championships this year. 

In a turn of events, the three young competitors who reached the semifinals, all from Master Joe’s school, did not want to fight each other.

“My school had three junior males – EJ Brual, Jordan Brito, Gabrial Simon – that were in the same -55kg category, and they all made it to semifinals. Since they were all friends, they did not want to fight each other, each of them offering the championship gold medal to each other. It was a display of great sportsmanship, friendship, and mutual respect. To be honest, any one of them could have won the gold medal,” explained Master Joe. 

One gold medalist, Aeva Park, who is Master Joe’s daughter, competed against bigger and more experienced opponents and made the AAU Mini-Cadet National Team.

This event was the first national championship event to be held since the summer of 2019 and had the largest number of registered competitors in AAU history. 

The Washington United Taekwondo team will be competing in the AAU National Team Trials in Houston, Texas, from August 1st – 5th and then will be traveling to San Antonio, Texas, to compete in the USATKD National Championships from August 4th – 8th. 

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NW Black Belt Academy list of medals


  • Akilah Franklin (Senior Female -62kg Black Belt) 
  • Fergus Curran (Senior Male -68kg Black Belt) 
  • Kiana Yoshimura (Junior Female +68kg Black Belt) 
  • Gabriel Simon (Junior Male -55kg Black Belt) 
  • Tiara Roy (Junior Female -46kg Red Belt) 
  • Meara Curran (Junior Para Female -49kg Black Belt) 
  • Mckinley Rapp (Cadet Female -55kg Red Belt) 
  • Aeva Park (Mini-Cadet Female -30kg Black Belt) 


  • Sebastian Tan (Junior Male -51kg Black Belt) 
  • Jordan Brito (Junior Male -55kg Black Belt) 
  • Joseph Brito (Junior Male -48kg Black Belt)
  • Montana Miller (Junior Female -46kg Black Belt) 
  • Victor Sanchez (Junior Male +78kg Black Belt) 
  • Brandon Sanchez (Youth Male +40kg Orange Belt) 
  • JP Yang (Cadet Male -37kg Blue Belt) 
  • Logan Lau (Youth Male -40kg Orange Belt) 


  • Melina Daniel (Senior Female -49kg Black Belt) 
  • EJ Brual (Junior Male -55kg Black Belt) 
  • Keawe Santiago (Junior Female -46kg Black Belt) Grace Pesigan (Cadet Female -59kg Black Belt) 
  • Justin Lau (Cadet Male -41kg Orange Belt) 
  • Shayla Olson (Tiger Female +30kg Orange Belt) 
  • Enzo Yang (Tiger Male -25kg Orange Belt) 

Athletes Qualified for National Team Trials 

  • Akilah Franklin (Senior Trials) 
  • Fergus Curran (Senior Trials) 
  • Kiana Yoshimura (Junior Trials) 
  • Gabriel Simon (Junior Trials) 
  • Sebastian Tan (Junior Trials) 
  • Jordan Brito (Junior Trials) 
  • Joseph Brito (Junior Trials) 
  • Montana Miller (Junior Trials) 
  • Victor Sanchez (Junior Trials) 
  • Melina Daniel (Senior Trials) 
  • EJ Brual (Junior Trials) 
  • Keawe Santiago (Junior Trials) 
  • Grace Pesigan (Cadet Trials) **Special Note: Aeva Park (Mini-Cadet National Team Member)**

For more information about Taekwondo in Lynnwood, visit NW Black Belt Academy Lynnwood or call 425-245-8651.

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